Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is the capital and virtually the only city at the Kamchatka Peninsula. The locals call the city just Petropavlovsk or even PK. Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky is the major port of the peninsula. It has a population of about 230,000, which is nearly half of the Kamchatka ‘s population.
The famous explorer Vitus Bering founded the first settlement that appeared on the territory of modern Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. His ultimate goal was the coast of America and the voyage saw the discovery of the Aleutian Islands and the Commander Islands, where Vitus Bering died of scurvy in December 1741.
In 1740 Bering reached Avacha Bay and laid the foundation stone for the port of Petropavlovsk, named after his two ships, the St. Peter and the St. Paul. On October 6, 1740 the first two ships arrived to the new port. It is considered the official date of foundation of Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky. The port is perfectly located; so many long-distance geographical expeditions use it.
After the completion of the Second Kamchatka expedition under the command of Vitus Bering, Petropavlovsk was about to finish its impetuous development and only thanks to its convenient location - it was an intermediate base between Okhotsk (the famous ship construction town) and the northern fishing Pacific regions – Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky survived. In 1812 Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky became the official capital of Kamchatka. In 1822 it obtained the status of the city. 1830 was the year when the population of the city ran up to the 1000 inhabitants. Within a century Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky grew into the capital of the whole peninsula - Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky.
The City Today
It is very easy to move round the city. There is the main street leading through Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky along the bay and all the big shops and sights can be found there. The city has many Soviet-style buildings, which however are surrounded by incredible natural beauty - the Avacha and Koryak volcanoes to the north, and huge Avacha Bay to the south.
There is the Lenin Square in Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky with the monument of Lenin in the center of it. Nikolskaya Knoll — a small knoll just in the city center — is also worth visiting. There is a splendid view to Avachinskaya bay and to the city from the top of the knoll. At the back side of Nikolskaya Knoll there is a Chapel, a small grey building in the park. 35 Russian defenders are buried on the right side of the Chapel and 38 French and English sailors on the left.
Places To Visit
The Museum of Regional Studies. Operating hours: 10am - 1pm, 2pm - 8pm, closed on Monday and Tuesday. The museum’s displays are devoted to the history of the region, the native peoples of Kamchatka and their ancient culture. There are interesting exhibits on Kamchatka’s nature.
The Museum of Volcanoes. The museum belongs to the Institute of Volcanology and can be visited by special appointment only. Founded 20 years ago, it houses a unique collection of minerals, ores, lava samples from the numerous volcanoes of Kamchatka and from other places in the world.